Frequently Asked Questions: Skin Protection
Protect your skin! Take the damaging effects of the sun seriously.
- Minimize sun exposure, especially during the summer and between 10 am and 3 pm.
- Even when the sky is cloudy, ultraviolet rays from the sun come through and penetrate through the skin.
- Sun screens and sun blocks should be selected based on the ability to protect against both UVA and UVB radiation.
- The product with SPF (sun protection factor) value should be at least 15.
- It should be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapplied apply every two hours when you are in the sun.
- Sun screen should be applied to the face daily, even if you do not plan to be out in the sun.
- Sun screens simply allows a person to be in the sun longer before the skin burns. THEY DO NOT TOTALLY PREVENT PENETRATION OF THE SUN’S RADIATION.
- A sun screen with SPF of 30 does not necessarily mean you can be out in the sun twice as long as with SPF 15 before burning. You only get a small added effect from the higher SPF products and all sun screen products must be reapplied frequently to obtain adequate protection.
Sun blocks are different from sun screens in that they physically block the ultraviolet light by reflecting it back and preventing penetration through the skin.
- The most common sun block ingredient is titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is now available in pleasant formulations that DO NOT leave a white residue on the skin surface.
- Read the labels to determine whether a product is a sun screen or a sun block.
- In addition to sun screen and sun block, wear a hat to shade your face. Sun protective clothing is now available for children and adults who spend time outside. All of these practices help prevent pigmented patches on the skin and non-melanoma skin cancers.
For more information:
Go to the Skin Care and Diseases health topic.